Niklas Hildebrand - 960x576
Programme:
MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
Nationality:
German
Undergraduate education:

BA Business Administration, Provadis School of International Management and Technology AG

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Venture Building, TruVenturo Digital Solutions

Niklas Hildebrand, MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management

About you

What work experience/internships (if any) did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

For the duration of my bachelor’s degree I assisted the management of Deutsche Telekom AG while studying business administration at the Provadis School of International Management and Technology. Prior to Imperial College Business School, I consulted businesses on technology topics such as the Internet of Things and simultaneously founded my first company which I managed till beginning my masters.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management at Imperial College Business School?

Imperial not only offers a comprehensive programme alongside an outstanding global reputation but more importantly, it allows you to study among students from all disciplines ranging from medicine to chemical engineering. This fosters creativity as well as innovation and for that reason, I decided to study the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Management programme.

Programme 

What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?

I definitely enjoyed experiencing the practical modules of building a company alongside my cohort the most. Starting with Design Thinking, we discovered the importance of identifying relevant problems and in Entrepreneurship we then got equipped with all necessary tools to reach product-market fit. Experiencing pivots, set-back and achievements together with a great bunch of people was amazing.  

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

To be honest a lot of modules have been my favourite, due to the described above, comprehensiveness in starting a company. But if I need to decide, Venture Capital & Growth Finance is my favourite since I was able to learn about venture growth, term sheets and setting up financial plans which is very applicable if I build my next startup. Also, the whole lecture was effective, engaging, practical and structured and offered hands on insights from industry experts.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part of the programme has been winning the design thinking award together with my team: By identifying relevant problems my team pivoted multiple times before finally presenting in front of Method Consulting’s panel. To actually see that all pivots, changes in assumptions and conducted research pays off, has been really rewarding. And most importantly, by going through all these stages together, lifelong friendships formed.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

The most challenging part of the programme besides managing multiple tasks, getting engaged and applying for jobs, has been the randomised assembling of groups per term. This forced everyone out of their personal comfort zone by preventing to work with similar persons all the time. In the end this was challenging but allowed the cohort to grow even closer since everyone worked closely with each other.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Crazy and funny but at the same time innovative and driven personalities. And as probably everyone is saying about their cohort: diverse. But in terms of my cohort this means having Argentinian law students, Spanish medical experts, Italian fintech and sustainability geniuses, Austrian tech consultants, German engineers, American designers and more people from across the world.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite professor was Dr Sankalp Chaturvedi due to his way of teaching: being a real authority and at the same time approachable and caring for his students.

Opportunities 

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

In retro perspective there have been plenty of opportunities like challenges, contests or awards but in the light of COVID-19 the greatest opportunity has been the people I’ve met from all disciplines ranging from medicine to chemical engineering and which I am sure I will maintain lifelong relationships with.

Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

In retrospect, I really liked the guest lectures in all my classes. By giving hands on insights from industry experts they helped me link theory with practical use and were an integral part of my learning experience. This is best exemplified by the “Dark Art of Valuation”. A guest lecture compromising all relevant aspects on valuing companies and how to invest in them – brought to me by an industry leader in this area. 

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position (including club leader, SSC, Dean’s Student Advisory Council and Student Ambassador)?

At Imperial College Business School, I am the SSC Social Leader as well as a Student Ambassador. Together with an amazing bunch of people I tried to put on several events including a Design Thinking event, ice skating, post-exam parties and several smaller events. However, literally everybody had ideas and organised events on their own which again showed me how special the IEM cohort is.

Besides this, as an Ambassador, I was allowed to represent my programme on several panels and helped incoming students or applicants with their questions and inquiries.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

Fortunately, whenever bigger events occurred, I had the chance to collaborate with students from other programmes. By acting as one school we were able to leverage expertise across cohorts and created interesting events such as a Design Thinking challenge, built together with the MBA cohort.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

I benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community in multiple ways but mostly when participating in events from the Enterprise Lab such as the launch weekend. These events brought together students from all different disciplines fostering creativity as well as innovation.

How have you found the unprecedented switch to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

On a personal level I experienced the switch to online learning due to COVID-19 very difficult since there was no chance of saying goodbye to my cohort. However, on a professional level it was more or less without major problems since we pursued with our exams as scheduled and were able to finish them via remote exams.

Career

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

My future career goals are best mirrored by working at a company builder or as a technology consultant. Since I worked in the tech-industry before Imperial, it helped me connect with top-employees. However, to work as a venture architect, the Master’s helped me pivot by equipping me with all necessary skills required in this industry.

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.

I think studying in a central location such as London is most definitely beneficial for networking and career opportunities since it always allows you to meet up with some of the brightest minds, most promising startups and alumni at any point. Without studying in London or having the Imperial network, I’d lack  many reliable contacts, important industry connections and most importantly many new friends.

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

Most importantly, I love every activity which involves my friends and besides this, I definitely enjoy doing sports such as running marathons, playing football or just doing fitness.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

Even if it might involve massive challenges like finding an apartment, moving to London offers great opportunities for literally everyone. London is the most ethnically diverse city in the world with every type of social activity. Besides this, London is one of the best cities in the world to establish yourself, since it offers every creative possibility and the opportunity to work alongside like-minded people.

For anyone in a similar position I can only recommend my secret weapon against the high living costs which is meal prepping.

Tips

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

Especially in the business context a lot of hard factors determine whether you are eligible for a programme or not. In terms of MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management however, there is a second component: you as a person, your aspirations, what you are passionate about and ultimately how you want to drive innovation. Hence, my advice would include answering each of these aspects individually.

Programme:
MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
Nationality:
German
Undergraduate education:

BA Business Administration, Provadis School of International Management and Technology AG

Job after Imperial College Business School:

Venture Building, TruVenturo Digital Solutions